Finding unity in EU security policy

#CriticalThinking

Peace, Security & Defence

Picture of Vytautas Butrimas
Vytautas Butrimas

The EU must regain confidence in itself as a unified, resolute and positive force in the world. Europe faces a variety of challenges to its security and ability to make sound decisions in the 21st century. Thousands of refugees seeking safety from conflict areas in the Middle East and North Africa are burdening countries’ capacities to accommodate people, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict in the EU’s backyard threatens to disrupt Europe’s security environment.

The EU has responded with a lack of unity and decisiveness due in part to an inadequate recognition of common values. Europe must get back in touch with the cultural achievements it has made and can still make. The sad disillusionment, scepticism and cynicism born from Europe’s two World Wars should not be the legacy that define and inform decision-making in Europe today. Instead, we should become reacquainted with its centuries of positive achievements in architecture, sculpture, painting, philosophy, poetry, music and in science and engineering from the 12th century to modern times. Renewed interest in and recognition of these past achievements, together with the values and beliefs that provided the inspiration for them, will give Europe the foundation for decisive confidence and action.

One of the newest threats, that of cybersecurity and protecting critical infrastructure vital to economic activity and the wellbeing of society, requires the EU to look beyond dealing with just Cybercrime, Denial-of-Service (DOS) attacks and Botnets. Malicious cyber activities carried out by states have an international cross border dimension. This needs to be recognised at EU level in the form of engagement with the international security community and organisations to come up with instruments that will control and limit this potentially disrupting and destructive behaviour.

The scale of the threat from malicious state-resourced cyber activities directed at the critical infrastructure of other states has a greater potential for disrupting national economies and social wellbeing than perhaps the activities of cyber criminals or mischievous hacktivists. The effects of temporary DOS attacks on websites and the financial losses from cybercrime do not compare with the failure of national electric grids, transportation systems, gas pipelines and utilities resulting from a sophisticated cyber-attack.

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